After 24 hours and two long days of live judging in Vegas, Steve and I (Courtney) walked away with Two, International Silver Awards...and a lot of inspiration for the wedding season to come!
Story Below With 2 RAW, Straight Out of Camera, NO EDITS Images Revealed!!!
Every other year we try to make the trip out to Las Vegas early March for "Wedding & Portrait Photographers International" a.k.a WPPI. At the conference we spend hours taking lessons, master classes and photo walks from some of the worlds best photographers. Steve also wanders the trade show floor checking out new gear, while I worry we won't have enough space in our luggage to bring home all the new tech toys he wants. With over 14,000 other photographers attending, we also make new friends from all over the globe. That's 14,000 more people than the population of Comox, BC...provided google stats are right!
Every year we submit some of our favourite images to the scrutiny and criticism of the biggest professionals in the industry. What better way to grow and get better at your craft, than to have your images critiqued, torn apart and then potentially awarded! It's nerve wracking to sit and listen to the critiquing, I cried the first time we even talked about just "submitting", needless to say, I've overcome that fear since then! Hearing what the best of the best have to say about your images is both terrifying and gratifying.
There are over 35 categories to submit to, from wedding to portrait to creative! We are huge fans of 4 of the categories
Bride and Groom together WEDDING DAY
Bride alone WEDDING DAY
Groom alone WEDDING DAY
IN CAMERA ARTISTRY
One of the reasons we submit to WPPI is due to these categories! The WEDDING DAY categories root out a lot of the pre-planned non-wedding, wedding photos you see. Believe it or not, a lot photographers hire professional models for their photo shoots and go to stunning locations to create one single image, taking hours to create one great image for their portfolio. Don't get us wrong, it's important to flex your creativity with creative, NON wedding day shoots. And the results are often times absolutely stunning! We just aren't excited when those images are submitted to contests & portfolios as real, wedding day images. If you are curious at seeing the worlds best wedding photos WEDDING DAY vs NON WEDDING DAY and RAW In Camera Artistry you can see them here (Get ready...its crazy insane! There is some incredible talent in the world!):
This year at the competition, Steve & I were both honoured with International Silver Awards for our "In Camera Artistry" (ICArt). What we love about the ICArt category is that it's a reflection of your skill within camera. Not necessarily insane skill with Photoshop...seriously you should see some of the images! You are judged on your composition, lighting, exposures & skill as a photographer, all in camera RAW no editing.
We came home with 2 International Awards this year in the ICArt category!
The first image below is straight out of camera, no edits or retouching. This was my (Court's) image, and easily one of my favourites from the year! I love the way Kevin & Lyndsay interact with each other, its nothing but smiles, laughter and joy! While we had a lot of stunning images this year I think we can all agree Kevin and Lyndsay are having an fun, real moment together - one of the reasons we submitted it! Here is the paraphrase from the judges ~ they loved the composition, camera angle and the soft romance of the scene one critique was suggested to place the couple on the right of the frame on the rule of thirds which may have scored it even higher. Take a look and see for yourself :)
Here is what the image looks like once edited with our Signature look and finish:
Those of you who follow Steve's photography know he is the Ring Master. The shot usually involves an interesting element, like smoke, fire, ice or in this case...MAGIC and he loves to represent those ring photos incorporating a couples' personalities, passions or careers! These rings are floating in mid air, an idea he and our groom, Ian, he is a hobbyist magician! I won't tell you how they are floating...that will take the awe out of it! The instant I saw what Steve had done...I knew he would win something! I love illusions & magic tricks! That's crazy to float rings! The Judges love IMPACT, something that makes them feel excited and inspired, this image had just that! One critique would be that the photo could be improved by lowering the camera, and photographing upwards to hide the reflection in the ring. Steve debated photoshopping out the camera in the final image, but he liked the story and the "photo in the photo" concept!
A little crop, our signature finish and voila, the final image:
We have never posted RAW images before, and it is a little unnerving sharing them with you all now! I never like showing the back of my camera...but now you've all seen it! Hopefully this post gives you an idea of how important getting the photo as close to perfect in camera, makes all the difference. In total, there were over 4,000 prints submitted from all over the globe, with less than 500 being awarded and making it through the discerning eye of the firm, but fair judges at this years competition.
A great quote from one of the judges, that l am all but butchering is this:
"We are creating images that last longer than a lifetime. We are really making these images for their children, and their childrens children!"